Agricultural sector in Canada generated 143.8 billion dollars in 22 alone, which is about 7% of the nation’s GDP.
In the article we look at some of the popular crops grown in Canada, how they are grown, and the challenges farmers face with growing each of these crops.
Agriculture is a big employer of the people of Canada, with over 2.3 million people working in the agricultural sector, equivalent to 1 in 9 jobs. Below are the 3 main types of farming used in Canada.
- Livestock Farming: This system of farming focuses on producing livestock like poultry, cattle, and pigs.
- Crop Farming: This system of farming is all about the production of crops such as corn, wheat, canola, etc.
- Mixed Farming: This is a system of farming that combines both the production of livestock and crops.
The List of Crops Grown in Canada
Below are the 20 most popular crops grown in Canada, the seasons during which they are grown, the techniques used for growing them and the challenges most farmers face when growing each of these crops in Canada.
This is a staple crop and there are two times during which they plant wheat crop in Canada. During fall, this type of wheat is referred to as winter wheat, and during spring, this type of wheat is referred to as spring wheat.
Canadian farmers employ farming methods like conventional tillage or direct seeding when planting wheat.
- Fall-sown wheat is planted in August and can be harvested in July.
- Spring wheat is planted from April to May and can be harvested from August – September.
- Easily affected by pests like aphids and rust diseases which can drastically reduce yield.
- Adverse changes in climate and weather e.g., excessive rainfall, drought, etc. can affect yield.
- If not monitored closely, rust disease can spread rapidly.
This is a commonly grown crop in Canada, most farmers use the crop rotation method when cultivating it, the major reason is due to its enriching impact on soil health.
Farming techniques employed by Canadian farmers when planting canola include conservation tillage and direct seeding methods which helps to reduce soil erosion.
- This crop is cultivated during spring and later harvested towards the end of summer.
- Flea beetles are a pest that reduces crop output. It mostly affects young canola plants.
- Canola is susceptible to diseases like blackleg which can also reduce yield.
- The canola crop is very sensitive to competition from weeds, so farmers have to ensure that they get rid of weeds in close proximity to the crop.
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This is one of the top crops grown in Canada using several tillage methods, the most popular being minimum tillage and direct seeding which helps to reduce erosion and soil disturbance.
- This crop is cultivated during spring and harvested during summer.
- Barley is susceptible to fungal diseases such as rust and scald.
- Adverse climate and weather conditions especially drought can drastically reduce yield.
- Another main challenge of growing barley is that it is susceptible to lodging which causes the plants to collapse during heavy rainfall or wind.
This is a popular crop grown in Canada, it does very well in warm temperatures and farmers make use of no-tills methods or conventional tillage when planting corn, as this helps to reduce erosion and preserve the soil moisture.
- Corn is cultivated during spring and harvested between late summer and early fall.
- Cooler climates in some areas present an unfavorable weather conditions for corn cultivation.
- Corn is susceptible to diseases like smut and pests like corn borers which can reduce yield.
- Adverse weather conditions during a growing season like untimely frosts can affect corn yield.
This is yet another popular crop grown in Canada, methods used for its cultivation include no-till seeding and Canadian farmers often opt for crop rotation systems to help manage pests and diseases.
- Soybeans are cultivated during spring and harvested between late summer and early fall.
- Places like the northern regions experience shorter growing seasons and this can affect the quality of yield.
- Susceptibility to diseases like white mold and pests like aphids.
- Unfavorable weather conditions during flowering like heavy rainfall can reduce pollination and pod formation.
This is a famous breakfast meal in Canada, and it is typically grown using minimum tillage practices or direct seeding to reduce erosion and preserve soil structure.
- Oats are cultivated during spring and harvested during summer.
- Crown rust and smut are some of the several diseases that can affect oats.
- Unfavorable climatic changes such as shifts in precipitation and temperature can negatively affect oat yield quality.
- Lodging during high rainfall and wind is another problem faced during the cultivation of oats.
Canadian farmers mainly use reduced tillage or no-till methods when growing Rye as it reduces the likelihood of erosion and improves soil health.
- Oats are cultivated during fall and harvested during summer.
- Diseases like ergot and pests like armyworms are a major challenge when growing rye.
- Fluctuating weather conditions can affect the growth and yield of rye.
- During heavy rainfall or wind, lodging can occur.
This crop is best cultivated using no-till seeding and Canadian farmers mainly use the crop rotation system for the management of pests and diseases.
- Peas are cultivated during spring and harvested during summer.
- Peas are susceptible to several diseases and farmers must find ways to prevent diseases especially cases of powdery mildew.
- Unfavorable weather conditions during flowering affect pollination and pod development in peas.
Direct seeding and minimum tillage are the best practices when cultivating lentils. This is to reduce the likelihood of erosion and to conserve soil moisture.
- Lentils are cultivated during spring and harvested during summer.
- Ascochyta blight is a main disease outbreak out of the several diseases that affect lentils.
- Fluctuating rainfall can cause changes in lentils yield.
Canadian farmers employ the hilling method when cultivating potatoes. This involves mounding the soil around the plant as they grow. This approach is useful to protect tubers from sun exposure and greening.
- Potatoes are cultivated in spring and harvested between late summer and fall.
- Blight is one of the several diseases that farmers must create preventive measures for.
- Potato plants and yields are negatively affected by cold weather and frost.
- Soil moisture levels must be maintained for proper tuber development to occur.
This oilseed crop which is rich in fiber is mainly cultivated using minimal tillage or direct seeding. These practices are best for sustainable land management, minimizing erosion, and preserving soil structure. A major requirement for the cultivation of flax is well-drained soil.
- This crop is cultivated in the warmer temperatures of spring and harvested during summer.
- Rust is a common fungal disease that affects the yield quality of flax. Other diseases which affect this crop include wilt and root rots.
This perennial crop is mainly used for feeding livestock. The planting methods employed include transplanting seedlings or direct seeding. This crop thrives in well-drained soil and can be grown using crop rotation which helps to preserve soil health.
- Alfalfa is grown in the warmer spring months and harvested several times during the summer months.
- Alfalfa weevils are a major pest affecting the yield of this crop.
- Diseases like crown rot and foliar diseases also affect yield and quality.
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This crop is grown mainly for its sugar content and methods used for its cultivation include conventional tillage or no-till method. The method used mainly depends on soil conditions and the farm’s practice.
- Sugar beets is cultivated during spring and harvested during fall.
- Defoliation and reduction in sugar yield can occur due to fungal diseases like Cercospora leaf spot.
This is an oilseed crop famous for its beautiful flowers and nutritious seeds, the farming method employed for its cultivation is no-till seeding.
- This crop is cultivated during spring and harvested during summer or early fall.
- Downy mildew affects the health and seed quality of sunflowers.
- Sunflower moths and banded sunflower moths are common pests that negatively affect sunflowers.
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This crop famous for its tightly packed leaves is usually transplanted as seedlings into well-prepared soil. Some practices used for moisture retention and weed control during its cultivation include mulching and row spacing.
- It is planted during spring and harvested in summer or later in fall.
- Flea beetles damage leaves and cabbage worms affect yields.
- Black rot disease affects yield and reduces marketability.
These are famous for their alluring color and nutritional value. Direct seeding into good soil is the best method employed by farmers.
- This crop is planted in spring or early summer and harvested between late summer and fall.
- Carrot rust flies affect yield and crop quality.
- Cavity spot disease creates lesions on the root of carrots.
This staple crop is famous for its culinary versatility and the fact that it can make even the strongest people cry once they cut it. Transplanting is a common method of cultivating, and it needs to be planted in fertile well-drained soil.
- It is grown in spring and harvested in late summer or fall.
- Onion white rot affects crop development and yield.
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This crop is used in a lot of meals and just like an onion, transplanting is carried out for tomatoes. Trellising which is a support system is used to maintain the plant structure and foster fruit growth and development.
- This crop is planted in spring and harvested in summer or fall.
- Early and late blight are some of the diseases that negatively affect tomatoes.
- Insects like aphids and tomato hornworms affect tomato yield.
This perennial fruit crop is grown in vineyards and requires trellising just like tomatoes. It also requires pruning to ensure good health and facilitate harvesting.
- It is grown in spring and harvested in late summer or fall.
- Downy and powdery mildew are some of the diseases that affect foliage and fruit quality.
This fruit crop is grown in an orchard, and it requires proper pest management and pruning techniques to maintain tree health and fruit quality.
- It is harvested in late summer or fall.
- Apple scab and fire blight are some of the common diseases of apples.
- Codling moths are a common pest that disturbs the growth of apples.